Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Ethiopia-related articles

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These guidelines are still being developed. Feel free to improve them, or discuss them on the talk page.


The purpose of this manual is to create style guidelines for editing Ethiopia-related articles in the English Wikipedia to conform to a neutral encyclopedic standard, as well as to make things easier to read by following a consistent format. The following rules do not claim to be the last word. One way is often as good as another, but if everyone follows minimum standards, Wikipedia will be easier to read and use, not to mention easier to write and edit. This manual is open to all proposals, discussion, and editing.

Related standards[edit]

Proper names[edit]

Ethiopians commonly use their fathers' given names as patronymics after their own, e.g. Robel Teklemariam means Robel, the son of Teklemariam. Sometimes their father's father's name appears in third place, but this style is usually for official documents; only in rare circumstances would Ethiopians adopt their grandfather's name as a last name for common usage. Note that if the name is Amharic, it does not imply that a subject is a member of the Amhara people, as many other groups also use Amharic names.

Many Ethiopian names are compound nouns in Ge'ez, for example "Zara Yaqob" which means "Seed of Jacob". He should not be referred to as "Zara" or "Mr Yaqob" -- unless this unusual usage can be verified in a reliable source, which then needs to be added to the relevant article.

Ethiopians, especially in the West, will frequently adopt their own transliteration scheme for styling themselves, that does not always correspond to any of the various schemes employed by linguists. Whenever proper names become notable under such ad hoc spellings, they should be preferred as the most common searchable term, e.g. songstress Manalemosh Dibo. Articles about musicians with stage names are listed at their more familiar name, e.g. Teddy Afro and Gigi (singer), with the legal name given in the article lead sentence.

This also applies to names of albums, songs, etc. that are sometimes transliterated directly as proper names. The name of an album is italicised, and if desired, the English interpretation could be given in parentheses and quotation marks ("like this").

Ge'ez alphabet[edit]

Introductory sentence[edit]

For guides on how to transliterate names, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Ethiopia/Transliteration. When transliterating a name, the article should first be at the name most commonly used in English. If no such common spelling exists, or if there are conflicting very common spellings, then the "Simple transliteration" of the adopted transliteration system takes precedence for the naming of the article and of the subject throughout the article.

  • Preceding the article name in some cases would be the name of the person's title in italics if it is not part of the article's title. E.g. Abba Bahrey at Bahrey, but Bahr negus Yeshaq at Bahr negus Yeshaq, as he is known commonly with the title.

Articles should begin with this common name (in bold), followed with a parenthetical notation containing the following:

  • First in the parentheses, following the primary spelling, should be any other significant English spelling variants.
  • For articles where a Ge'ez transliteration of the title is provided: Second in the parentheses, following a semicolon ";", should be the word Ge'ez alphabet linked to by "Ge'ez" (as follows: [[Ge'ez alphabet|Ge'ez]]), followed by the primary name in Ge'ez script and a complex transliteration as per Wikipedia:WikiProject Ethiopia/Transliteration. Immediately after the complex transliteration should come any English transliterations when available and applicable. If the word's primary meaning is in Ge'ez, then a comma should follow the complex transliteration followed by Ge'ez language linked by Ge'ez (as follows: [[Ge'ez language|Ge'ez]]). For words important out of a Ge'ez context (and pronounced differently or with a different meaning), the applicable languages' pronunciation using the complex transliteration (and meaning, if different), should follow. Using the full language name before the different transliteration is not prohibited, but it is recommended that the abbreviation of the language be used for non-Ge'ez languages. (Some of those abbreviations are Amh., Gur., Gz., Orm., Som., Tgn., and Tgr., for Amharic, Gurage languages (if specificity cannot be provided), Ge'ez, Oromo, Somali, Tigrinya, and Tigre.) After the transliteration of the other word terms (with Ge'ez alphabet spelling first if different from Ge'ez spelling) should come the meaning if different from the Ge'ez one, available, and applicable.
  • After the primary word and its transliteration and translation should come any other very common native language variants in bold. E.g. "Gudit," "Yodit," and "Isato" [or Esato] are all variants on a single Jewish/pagan queen in the 9th/10th century and should be bolded. The variants are within Amharic itself rather than due to differences in transliteration system, but should still be included in bold as the first notation in parentheses. Following these alternatives, transliteration should be provided as above.
  • See for example Habesha, whose raw text is thus:
  • The term '''Habesha''' ([[Ge'ez alphabet|Ge'ez]] ሐበሻ ''ḥabašā'', [[Amharic language|Amh.]] ''hābešā'', [[Tigrinya language|Tgn.]] ''ḥābešā''; sometimes Amh. '''Abesha''', አበሻ ''ābešā''), while sometimes described as...
  • which is parsed:
  • The term Habesha (Ge'ez ሐበሻ ḥabašā, Amh. hābešā, Tgn. ḥābešā; sometimes Amh. Abesha, አበሻ ābešā), while sometimes described as...
  • as according to the MoS for Ethiopia-related articles.

In text[edit]

This edition of Wikipedia is in English, so do not use the Ge'ez alphabet or its transliteration excessively, such as for common nouns. Also, bear in mind that such entries will appear as squares or question marks on any computers that lack the supporting font (GF Zemen Unicode).

If a common noun does not have an established English translation (that is, has multiple translations or none), the Ge'ez spelling may be given in parentheses, followed by an italicized complex transliteration. For example, in Great Oromo migration, the term luba is not easily translated. The relevant portion of the text therefore reads "... until the luba (Ge'ez ሉባ lūbā, an "appointed" head of one of the five groups of an Oromo clan) of Meslé."

Furthermore, within the text, proper nouns in the Ge'ez alphabet may be supplied if known, unless the noun is hyperlinked and the target article in the English Wikipedia provides the characters. Where it is used, the name in Ge'ez letters, followed by its complex transliteration, both in parentheses, should directly follow the first (and only the first) mention of the name. Translation is optional, but not entirely necessary unless it contains some significance to the article.

If there is a term you have trouble translating, please bring it up on the Ethiopia-related Manual of Style talk page. You may also drop a note at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Ethiopia if you wish.

Again, to help establish a simple and clean appearance, if a term is already hyperlinked to an article with Ge'ez text and romanization, please do not provide the characters or romanization again. For example, the following is redundant:

...his older brother Tewodros (Ge'ez ቴዎድሮስ tēwōdrōs "Theodore") ordered Zara Yaqob confined...

Because the hyperlinked article already displays the name in Ge'ez. It should instead be rendered as:

...his older brother Tewodros ordered Zara Yaqob confined...

which simplifies the article. If readers wish to see the name in the native text, they can simply click on the Tewodros link (where editors may insert the Ge'ez text, transliteration, etc., if not already present).

If, however, there is no article for a proper name, then it is permissible to insert a Ge'ez text and transliteration of it in the text. These can be removed later once a stub or article has been created.

In general, non-English insertions should be in parentheses to minimize interruption to the flow of reading. For example:

"His name was Tewodros (ቴዎድሮስ)."

is okay, but

"His name was ቴዎድሮስ."

is not a readable English sentence.

Note that Ge'ez insertions to list and table entries can be done without parentheses.

Names of ethnic groups[edit]

Ethiopia is a land of many ethnic groups – one authority has counted over 80 of them. As a result, most of these groups are known by two names: that by which other groups refer to them, and that which members of their group use to refer to themselves – an exonym and an endonym. While the exonym is usually the more familiar name to English speakers and thus would otherwise be the preferred name, most of them are either obviously derogatory (e.g., the Yem people are called by their neighbors Janjero, "monkey") or considered derogatory by its members (e.g. Galla for Oromo). Out of sensitivity to these ethnic groups, preference should be given to the endonym as the article name, unless it is needlessly confusing (e.g., not "Kingdom of Yem" but Kingdom of Janjero, which is the established name of this monarchy).

Redirects should exist for all reasonable exonyms, and variants for each ethnic group, when known.